Autoimmune destruction of pancreatic ß cells leads to type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus, which is usually considered to be an irreversible disease. But in July Journal of Clinical Investigation, Shinichiro Ryu and colleagues from Harvard Medical School show that induction of TNF-α expression combined with re-education of newly emerging T cells with self antigens can interrupt autoimmunity and reverse established autoimmune diabetes in mice

Ryu and colleagues treated non-obese autoimmune diabetic mice with CFA to induce TNF-α expression and exposed them to functional complexes of MHC class I molecules and antigenic peptides either by repeated injection of MHC class I matched splenocytes or by transplantation of islets from nonautoimmune donors. These interventions resulted in the marked reduction and apparent elimination of ongoing ß cell–directed autoimmunity. In addition, the endogenous pancreatic islet function was restored to such an extent that normoglycemia was maintained in up to 75% of animals after...

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